Skip to main content

Full text of "Community Media Review, Vol. 32, No. 1, Spring 2009"

See other formats


ultimate design, ultimate bulletin board. 

tightrope creative 

° 1 Visit us at booth #101 

Tightrope Media Systems now offers design services, providing custom backgrounds, pictures, 
animations and templates that you can use with Carousel, your ultimate bulletin board solution. 

tightrope media systems 800 Transfer Road, Suite IB . 551 14 . 866-866-41 18 . 

Spring 2009 
Volume 32, Number 1 



Lauren- Glenn Davitian 

CCTV Center for Media and Democracy 

Jennifer Harris 

Center for Digital Democracy 

Daniell Krawczyk 

Princeton Server Group 

Margie Nicholson 

Columbia College Chicago 

Ben Sheldon 

CTC VISTA Project 

Karen Toering 

Reclaim the Media 

Andy Valeri 

Miami Valley Communications Council 


Jan Haughey 


Lisa Schnabel 


Paula J. Kelly 


Helen Soule, executive director 
Denise Woodson, membership/operations 
Rob McCausland, information/organizing 
Lisa Freedman, advertising sales 

^ Alliance for 


CommunityMediaReview [ISSN 1 074-9004] 
is published quarterly by the Alliance for 
Community Media, Inc. Subscriptions are 
$35/year. Editorial comments and inquiries 
regarding subscriptions, additional copies, 
and advertising may be sent to: 


1 100 G Street, NW / Suite 740 
Washington, DC 20005 
Voice: 202.393.2650 / Fax: 202.393.2653 

Requests for bulk orders considered in advance of 
publication. Contact the national office for rates and 

Copyright © 2009 by the Alliance for Community 
Media, Inc. Prior written permission of the Alliance 
for Community Media required for all reprints or 

Educational Access Issue 


Education as Prerequisite for Success by Helen Soule. 4 

Be Not Afraid of Going Slowly by Matt Schuster 5 

Welcome to the Educational Access Issue by Jan Haughey 6 

Milestones and Transitions compiled by Rob McCausland 7 


Teaching the Art of Video by Reade Scott Whinnem 8 

The Stories Project by Mary Ann Janosko 11 

Fairmont High Schools Interactive Media Program: Making An 

Impact Through Access by Karl Bremer and Andy Valeri 14 

We've Got the BEAT by Sam Boyer 17 

Solid-State Workflow Considerations by Ken Freed 20 

Educational Access — Give us a Button on the 

Home Page by Jeff Possanza 21 

Nonlinear Workflow in Community Media Production 

by Jason Daniels 22 

Student-Run TV Conference Creates Opportunities 

by Danielle Mannion 24 

You Are Not Alone by Phillip L. Harris 27 

Video Distribution 101 by Jennifer Wager 30 

Our Address Has Changed I 

Please update your records and send all correspondence 
to this address: 

Alliance for Community Media 

Community Media Review 
1 100 G Street NW, Suite 740 
Washington, DC 20005 


Turn it On 


omized VoD Flash player an 
("yourtown.PECTV") FOR YO 

• Cross platform functionality for both 
mac and pc users, 

peg. tv's powerful content management 
system (cms) supports drag and drop 
^ylist creation and management. 


TelVue Corporation 







At-Large Representative 

Metro TV- Louisville Metro Government 

527 W.Jefferson Street, Suite 600 

Louisville, KY 40202 

Voice: 502.574.1904 /Fax: 502.574.6371 




At-Large Representative 
'Olelo Community Television 
1122 Mapunapuna Street 
Honolulu, HI 96819 

Voice: 808.834.0007 xl31 / Fax: 808.836.2546 



At-Large Representative 

Saint Paul Neighborhood Network 

375 Jackson Street, Suite 250 

Saint Paul, MN 55101 

Voice: 651.298.8900 /Fax: 651.298.8414 




Southeast Representative Appointed 
The Peoples Channel 
300AC South Elliott Road 
Chapel Hill, NC 27514 
Voice: 919.960.0088 



Regional Representative 
Mid-Atlantic Representative Appointed 

500 Main Street 

Metuchen, NJ 08840 

Voice: 732.603.9750 /Fax: 732.603.9871 



Equal Opportunity Representative Appointed 

901 Newton Street NE 

Washington, DC 20017 

Voice: 202.526.7007 / Fax: 202.526.6646 




Midwest Representative Appointed 

Public Access Television 

206 Lafayette Street 

Iowa City, LA 52240 

Voice: 319.338.7035 



Southwest Representative Appointed 
channelAustin (PACT) 
1 143 Northwestern Avenue 
Austin, TX 78702 

Voice: 512.478.8600x18 /Fax: 512.478.9438 


Northeast Representative Appointed 
Falmouth Community Television 
3 10A Dillingham Avenue 

Falmouth, MA 02540 

Voice: 508.457.0800 / Fax 508.457.1604 



Western Representative Appointed 

Denver Open Media 

700 Kalamath St. 

Denver, CO 80204 



Northwest Representative Appointed 

14419 Greenwood Ave. N, Suite A, #203 

Seattle, WA 98133-6865 

Voice: 800.885-8886x116 

Fax: 856-866-7411 



Central States Representative Appointed 

2906 Memory Lane 

Kalamazoo, MI 49006-5535 

Voice: 269.381.3010 




The Buske Group 

3001 J Street, Suite 201 

Sacramento, CA 95816 

Voice: 916.441.6277 / Fax: 916.441.7670 



6 Winter Street 
Montpelier, VT 05602 
Voice: 802.229.4734 


People TV 

190 14th Street NW 

Atlanta, GA 303 18 

Voice: 404.873.6712 / Fax: 404.874.3239 


Brockton Community Access 

P.O. Box 974 

Brockton, MA 02303 

Voice: 508.580.2228 / Fax: 508.580.0750 



3 Graf Road, Suite 1 1 
Newburyport, MA 01950 
Voice: 978.961.0350 


65 Day Road 
Ventura, CA 93003 

Voice: 805.658.0500 / Fax: 805.658.0505 


Manhattan Neighborhood Network 
537 West 59th Street 
New York, NY 10019 

Voice: 212.757.2670 x346 / Fax: 212.757.1603 



Legal Affairs Appointee 

Spiegel & McDiarmid 

1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW 

Washington, DC 20036 

Voice: 202.879.4002 / Fax: 202.393.2866 



Diversity Seat Appointee 

Arlington Independent Media 

2701-C Wilson Boulevard 

Arlington, VA 22201 

Voice: 703.524.2388 / Fax: 703.908.9239 



Skill Seat Appointee 
EGTV Channel 6 
Vllage of Elk Grove Village 
90 1 Brantwood Avenue 
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 
Voice: 847.357.4270 


Diversity Seat Appointee 
channelAustin (PACT) 
1143 Northwestern Avenue 
Austin, TX 78702 

Voice: 512.478.8600 x22 / Fax: 512.478.9438 

Access Forum 

Open to anyone interested in community media 
topics. Send subscription request to access-forum- 

Equal Opportunity 

Open to anyone interested in equal opportunity 
topics. Send subscription request to alliance- 

Alliance Announce 

Open to members of the Alliance for Community 
Media interested in community media topics. Send 
subscription request to alliance-announce- 


Federal Communications Commission 

The Portals 

445 12th Street SW 

Washington, D.C. 20024 

Voice: 202.418.0200 / Fax: 202.418.2812 

Your Federal Legislators: 

Office of Senator 

United States Senate 
Washington, D.C. 20515 

The Honorable 

United States House of Representatives 
Washington, D.C. 20510 

U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 

Voice: 202.224.3121 


From the Executive Director 

Education as Prerequisite for Success 


"[EJducation is no longer just a pathway to opportunity and success, 
it is a prerequisite. " , , 

r 1 —President Barack Obama, March 10,2009 

Helen Soule, Ph.D. # 
has provided leader- 
ship to the public 
and nonprofit sector 
at the local, state, 
and national level for 
over 25 years. Most 
recently, Dr. Soule 
served as executive 
director of Cable in the 
Classroom, the cable 
industry's education 
foundation. At the U.S. 
Department of Educa- 
tion, Soule was chief 
of staff to the assistant 
secretary for the Of- 
fice of Postsecondary 
Education. For eight 
years, she was director 
of the Mississippi State 
Department of Educa- 
tion Office of Technol- 
ogy, with responsi- 
bilities ranging from 
technology to text- 
books to professional 
development. Her local 
experience includes 
being a teacher and 
district-level school 

These words ring true not only to those 
of us in community media who are a 
part of the "e" in PEG (public, educa- 
tional, and governmental) access but also to 
all of us who provide formal and informal 
training to the public, in our centers and 
on our channels. As President Obama indi- 
cates, the education of our children — and 
our adults — must be a national priority and 
learning is a task for a lifetime. 

The mission of the Alliance for Commu- 
nity Media itself begins with a commitment to 
education: "In order for democracy to flour- 
ish, people must be active participants in their 
government, educated to think critically and 
free to express themselves." 

Community media centers fulfill this mis- 
sion each day by playing an important role in 
both formal and informal lifelong education. 
Many access centers provide training pro- 
grams for students of all ages in a variety of 
topics, such as video production, technology 
literacy, and media literacy Access channels 
provide distance learning courses on many 
subjects over their cable channels. The centers 
and channels remain one of the few sources 
for information about opportunities and issues 
important to local communities. Read the 
articles in this edition of Community Media 
Review to get new ideas and learn more about 
how the public's education needs are being 
met every day by community media centers 
around the country. 

Education also plays an important part in 
the Alliance's public policy work. 

On March 4, a band of twenty Alliance 
members, led by the board, "marched forth" 

to begin our 2009 Keep Us Connected 
Campaign. We met with senators and repre- 
sentatives, as well as with all members of the 
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 
to educate and inform them about the value 
and the issues facing community media. The 
hundreds of community media supporters 
submitting comments to the FCC regarding 
our filing educated the Commissioners and 
their staffs about how the law is being violat- 
ed, the damage being inflicted on community 
access, and the many services we provide. 

Among the highlights: Access San Francis- 
co and California supporters were successful 
in educating the San Francisco Board of Su- 
pervisors about the merits of their Mirkarimi 
resolution calling on the state legislature and 
Congress to reform PEG funding. Maryland 
leaders successfully defeated statewide fran- 
chising efforts by educating supporters and 
policymakers at the hearing about the impor- 
tance of community media and the danger of 
statewide franchising. 

As President Obama said, education is a 
prerequisite to success. Education is definitely 
a prerequisite to our success at the Alliance 
and in our local communities. It is up to each 
of us to advocate for community media and 
to educate others about it, as well as to learn 
anew how to serve our communities. A great 
place to start is at the Annual Conference 
in Portland, Oregon, in July Registration is 
open, so make your plans to attend now! 

In Alliance, 

Helen Soule 

Executive Director 


From the Board Chair 

Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid 

only of standing still. — Chinese proverb 


Change is difficult, placing us into 
unknown territory and uncharted 
waters. However, change is a necessity. 
How we respond to change is the real ques- 
tion. All healthy living organisms adapt and 
change. We can ignore changes that affect 
our industry, or we can recognize the need to 
adapt. For our organizations and our industry 
to thrive, we must adapt to the changes occur- 
ring for community media. 

Media Landscape 

In recent years, the media landscape has 
exploded with digital and electronic media. 
Media makers and communicators use various 
platforms to deliver content, including the 
Internet, mobile devices, and broadcast, cable, 
and satellite television. 

While our history is based in cable chan- 
nel delivery, community media centers are 
embracing change, adapting to integrate Web 
communication tools, social media networks, 
broadband, and more. Community media 
helps members of our community to commu- 
nicate, connect, and provide a greater level of 
access for all. The specific technologies that 
are used are secondary to the overall mission. 

At the request of our regional affiliate 
leadership, the Alliance for Community 
Media board of directors recently explored 
the definition of community media. What we 
discovered was nothing earth-shattering or 
mind-blowing. We found an underlying theme 
of being inclusive of all types of electronic or 
digital media. Media centers must be teaching, 
demonstrating, and helping our communities 
to use the best electronic communication tools 
to meet their needs. 

Political Landscape 

The political landscape also has shifted over 
the past several years. State franchising laws 

have been adopted under the premise of 
increasing competition for cable services and 
lowering subscriber rates. Many of these laws 
have eroded support for community media 
operations and the promises of lower rates and 
competition are falling short in practice. 

In response, the Alliance for Community 
Media launched the Keep Us Connected 
campaign. Congress has held two favorable 
congressional hearings on community me- 
dia issues. The Alliance filed a Petition for 
Declaratory Ruling with the Federal Com- 
munications Commission (FCC) charging 
that telecommunications giant AT&T dis- 
criminates against local community channels 
with its U-verse cable TV system. The FCC 
received over 600 comments, a majority of 
them in favor of community media issues. 

With our partners, the Alliance filed an 
appeal to the Supreme Court of 6th Circuit 
Decision on Video Franchising. We are 
working with federal and state legislators to 
introduce changes in laws to protect pub- 
lic, educational, and governmental (PEG) 
channels and funding. And we will be asking 
again for your voice and contribution as this 
campaign progresses this year. 


Lastly, our funding models are changing at a 
rapid pace. We encourage community media 
centers to diversify funding. Whether it is 
out of necessity or foresight, our operations 
cannot afford to stand on one primary source 
of revenue. 

We are looking to you to help define our 
industry as we move forward and adapt. The 
process may seem slow at times, but we are 
working for the future of community media. 

Enjoy this issue highlighting the work and 
leadership of community media centers in our 
educational communities. 

Matt Schuster is chair 
of the ACM Board of 
Directors. He manages 
the national award- 
winning government 
access channel 
MetroTV in Louisville, 
Kentucky. Previously, 
he was cable TV 
manager for Lake 
County, Illinois, and 
Meridian Township, 
Michigan. All three 
channels received 
multiple national 
awards from NATOA 
and the Alliance's 
Hometown Video 
Festival, including 
Overall Excellence 
in Government 
Programming. Matt 
also serves on the 
ACM Central States 
Region Board. 
He received his 
Master of Arts in 
from Michigan State 
University. Contact 
him at matt.schuster® 


From the Guest Editor 

Welcome to the Educational Access Issue 
of Community Media Review 


Jan Haughey has 
been involved with 
the cable access 
community for the last 
seventeen years. She 
previously enjoyed 
16 years as a 
successful account 
manager for a large 
audio and video 
reseller, where 
she saw the need 
for a professional 
organization to 
serve educators in 
broadcast and cable 
access. To meet this 
need, she created 
Video Educators of 
New England (www. 
eleven years ago. She 
has served as chair for 
the organization since 
its inception. 

I was intrigued when asked to serve as the 
I guest editor of the educational access issue, 
I pausing for a moment to think, just what 
would such an issue include? Where would we 
go with this? 

I felt a bit like an outsider looking in when 
asked to serve. I have personally never taught 
or served on an educational access organiza- 
tion. Yet I have served and stood alongside 
many such organizations in my 17 -plus years 
in the industry. It was more than 1 1 years ago 
when it became glaringly clear to me that 
educational access was so much more than 
recording and playing back the school com- 
mittee or board meetings and the local high 
school athletic events. 

I have had the good fortune to work with 
professionals who share with students the val- 
ue of teamwork, meeting deadlines, expressing 
divergent views, protecting free speech, grap- 
pling with changing technology, and gaining 
confidence along the way. Video Educators of 
New England came into being to support the 
works of these individuals as they sharpened 
their skills and networked with each other. 

The education slice of the PEG pie grap- 
ples with some of the same issues that public 
and governmental access do. Front and center 
is the need to balance the technology with the 
message. Many of our youth are anxious to get 
their hands on the fastest Mac or the coolest 
camcorder and in educational access we strive 
to provide those experiences. But if we don't 
ensure that the art of the project is crafted 
and appreciated, all we end up with are cool 
toys making noise. To this point we welcome 
Reade Scott Whinnem and his article, "Teach- 
ing the Art of Video." 

The toys we have at our disposal to make 
the art of video keep improving and drop- 
ping in cost. We welcome three different 
viewpoints on this: Ken Freed and his take on 

solid-state acquisition; Jeff Possanza's take on 
streaming; and Jason Daniels's critical eye on 
nonlinear editing. The changing landscape 
also is well covered in Jennifer Wager's "Video 
Distribution 101," as she adeptly points out 
the various venues we now have for distribut- 
ing our work. 

Educational access provides a gateway to 
the communities it serves. It opens the door to 
showcase what the educational community is 
all about. It's an opportunity to visit the local 
folks in their living rooms. Connecting the 
community to the students and the students 
to the community is one of the benefits of the 
program Mary Ann Janosko outlines in her 
article, "The Stories Project." We also learn 
from the experiences of long-term programs 
like the ones reviewed in the Fairmont High 
and Brunswick city school districts. 

As many an educator out there knows, 
they often are a department of one, an island 
in their district. We thank Phil Harris for 
sharing a variety of resources available to the 
educational community. It's gratifying to see 
Danielle Mannion's students pick up the reins 
and run a very successful conference. 

The challenges teachers and educational 
access staff face are daunting. Just to name a 
few: budget pressures, shrinking enrollments 
and the need to recruit, being a department 
of one, unrealistic expectations, changing 
technology, and the explosion of new media 
outlets. I thank our guest writers for shed- 
ding light on some of the many aspects of 
educational access. 




In this new feature, we proudly salute significant achievements of PEG access centers and the people who guide, manage, 
and use them. Please send your news to We will be pleased to include it in future issues! 


PEG Center Anniversaries 

25th Anniversary • NOVEMBER 2008 

Community Media Network, Troy, 
Michigan • JANUARY 2009 TV Tacoma, 
Tacoma, Washington • APRIL 2009 
CCTV's Center for Media & Democracy, 
Burlington, Vermont • MAY 2009 
Boston Neighborhood Network, Boston, 

10th Anniversary • OCTOBER 2008 

Community Access Television, Erie, 
Pennsylvania • MARCH 2009 
PAC 14, Salisbury, Maryland 
New Facilities and Services 

• SEPTEMBER 2008 Virtual Studio, 
Fairfax Public Access, Fairfax, Virginia 

• OCTOBER 2008 U.S. Green Building 
Council's LEED Silver Award, Boston 
Neighborhood Network's new facility 

• JANUARY 2009 New facility and fran- 
chise, Capitol Community Television, 
Salem, Oregon 

• FEBRUARY 2009 New facility and 
bi-town service, Community Media on 
Hudson, Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, New 
York • APRIL 2009 New (fourth) channel 
turned on, Fairfax Public Access, Fair- 
fax, Virginia • APRIL 2009 Government 
meeting coverage begins in Rochester, 
Minnesota, Provided by Community 
Media Network, Troy, Michigan 

• APRIL 2009 Grand Opening, CreatTV, 
San Jose, California 


• SEPTEMBER 2008 Kathy Bisbee 

became executive director of the Com- 
munity Media Access Partnership in 
Gilroy, California 

• SEPTEMBER 2008 Steve Gay became 
executive director of Winchester Com- 
munity Access Media in Winchester, 

• OCTOBER 2008 Brian Fraser became 
executive director of North Andover 
Community Access & Media in North 
Andover, Massachusetts 

• OCTOBER 2008 Marcia Smith became 
executive director of Community 
Access Television of Salina in Salina, 
Kansas «CMR 

Discovery that is changing the world 

Find out how to retransmit ResearchChannel for FREE at 

Exciting programs share the 
revolutionary ideas from 
the world's leading 
research and 


Teaching the Art of Video 


The best way 
to make 
students wary 
of television is 
to teach them 
how to build it. 

Let's be honest. If you put a camera in a 
teenage boy's hands, he'll make videos 
of his friends hitting each other over the 
head with pillow polo mallets. Teenage girls, 
on the other hand, curl inside themselves 
when the camera is pointed at them; they turn 
away, play with their hair, and beg you to shut 
the camera off. Unless you give kids some 
artistic direction, very few of them are going 
to turn in something assessable. The problem 
for most teachers is that we're not artists, and 
asking kids to create art means that we have to 
grade art. That's scary. 

Eleven years ago, I stepped into a class- 
room at the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High 
School. I was filling in as a long-term substi- 
tute for a teacher out on sick leave. I had no 
teacher training, no certification, and no expe- 
rience. Most of the forty kids I was introduced 
to never wanted to take a media class. They 
had planned to take shop classes, but over the 
summer all of the shop classes had been cut. 
They were not happy to meet me. 

After several excruciating weeks of teach- 
ing, my department head took me aside and 
told me to go to one of the other schools in 
our district and introduce myself to a teacher 
there. He was about my age, but unlike me, he 
knew what he was doing. 

I stopped by his classroom one afternoon. 
After explaining my situation, he and I started 
batting ideas around. I didn't have a tech 
degree, so I wasn't about to teach kids how 
to solder motherboards. I did have an MFA, 
and while I'd always thought that it wasn't 
much more than a crispy piece of paper, my 
colleague decided to look at it as a strength. 
Eight hours, a couple of beers, and some 
shrimp scampi later, I had the ideas that 
would become and have remained the core 

of my class. Instead of rejecting my art back- 
ground, I embraced it. 

I also embraced my hatred of television. 

I'll admit it. I hate TV. I mean, I love TV. 
But I hate it. I think that most people know 
where I'm coming from. At times television 
is quite entertaining and educational, but at 
other times it's so insipid that I start arguing 
with this inanimate object that I invited into 
my living room. 

My real problem with television, however, 
comes from the way it targets young people. 
The disregard for their intelligence, the 
gender misrepresentation, and the materialism 
all too often combine into a bubbling caul- 
dron of poison. I used to have a sign up in my 
classroom that read, "Advertising is a means of 
establishing superficial, hard-hearted, unat- 
tainable social norms." My goal has always 
been to inoculate students against television. 
I don't necessarily want them to hate it, but 
I want them to be wary of it. And the best way 
to make them wary of television is to teach 
them how to build it. 

After getting kids through the basics of 
camera operation, I start talking about visual 
techniques. (If we were going to be media 
literate about it, we might say visual tactics, 
but that's a whole other argument altogether.) 
The students and I talk about high and low 
angles, high and low key lighting, deep and 
shallow focus, silhouettes and shadows, point 
of view, reflections, and symbols. I put up still 
images of each technique and ask them what 
the image suggests. "What was the intent of 
the creator of this image?" 

If they have trouble answering that 
question, I ask them to simply tell me their 
reaction. I tell them that their reaction is just 
as valid as mine. "We may look at the same 


Reade Scott Whinnem is a teacher 
consultant through the Buzzards Bay 
Writing Project. He is the author of 
the book Utten and Plumley, as well 
as The Pricker Boy, due out from 
Random House in September. He 
teaches Media Production at Dennis- 
Yarmouth Regional High School. 


image and come up with different reactions 
to it," I say. "The artist brings the image to 
us, but we also bring ourselves to the image. 
I don't care if you see it differently from me, 
just so long as you can explain it." Over and 
over again, I try to pull them back toward 
those techniques. 

Then using the camera and tripod as 
hammer and saw, I ask them to build shots 
that mean something: "Make someone look 
scary. Or make someone look like they're in 
love. Make someone look gleeful, or show 
me someone who has had their world come 
crashing down around them. Forget about the 
acting. I don't care about that. I'm grading 
those techniques. Show me what you can do 
with them. Build, build, build." They divide 
up into groups and head out with the cameras. 

During postproduction, language becomes 
key, just as it does in any other discipline. Us- 
ing model lessons that I acquired through my 
work with the Buzzards Bay Writing Project 
(, the students 
and I play with words. I hand them weak 
words like good, bad, nice, important, and 
so forth. These are the words that I've seen 
students use over and over and over, words 
which in my mind have become as effective 
as bald sandpaper. I ask them to brainstorm 
synonyms for the words. They brainstorm 
alone, they brainstorm together, and they use 
library resources to explore the words. They 
ask, "What does this exercise have to do with 
media production?" I tell them to be patient 
and not bug the teacher. 

As the editing process begins, I tell the stu- 
dents to focus on their explanations of at least 
two techniques in each of their shots. I remind 
them of our synonym exercise. I give them the 
following rubric: 

A score of three means that you use the 
principle effectively and that you use 
rich, vivid descriptions that explain your 
artistic intentions with the shot. 

■ A score of two means that you use the 
principle effectively and that you use 
generalized (though accurate) descrip- 
tions to explain your artistic intentions 
with the shot. 

■ A score of one means that you made 
an attempt to use the principle, though 
it is not used effectively. Your descrip- 
tion of your intent is too vague or too 
inaccurate to demonstrate complete 

■ A score of zero means that your usage 
and description do not demonstrate any 
effective understanding of the principle 
or its use. 

Creativity points are also given for how 
effectively they combine those tech- 
niques. They also have to frame their 
shot well and have proper focus, white 
balance, etc. 
"The best shots," I add, "will have even 
more than two techniques. If you have to 
choose your best out of three or even four, 
then you're really showing me something." 

At this point, my students have no choice 
in the matter. They have to get creative. They 
have to pick up the tools and build. They have 
to combine concepts. They have to explore. 
And then they have to explain their thought 
process in specific language. 

My students hate me for ruining TV for 
them. They begin to recognize the construc- 
tion behind the visual media that they con- 
sume. They see the beams, they can tell where 
the load-bearing walls are, and they can tell by 
the pitch of the roof where the water is going 


Teaching the Art of Video (continued) 

We move on to 
public service 
and from 
there, leap 
into student- 
projects. I'm 
happy to say 
that I don't 
get the shots 
of pillow polo 
mallets from the 
boys anymore. 

to leak through the shingles. It drives them 
absolutely crazy to have this new perspective 
on television. I imagine them sitting in their 
homes shouting at the inanimate object known 
as the TV. (It's a delightful image.) They tell 
me that their parents send them out the room 
so that they can watch movies in peace. I tell 
them that things will get better. 

Once students grasp the basics of technique, 
we move on to public service announcements, 
and from there, we leap into student-designed 
projects. I'm happy to say that I don't get the 
shots of pillow polo mallets from the boys 
anymore. The girls get lost in the creativity 
and forget about whether they measure up to 
the music video model. And those art projects 
that once seemed so hard to grade? They 
don't scare me quite so much anymore. 

Let me give you an example of a PSA 
project that I recently graded. The students 

used only a single shot. In it, a girl holds a pen 
in front of the camera lens, slowly waving her 
arm from side to side as the camera tries in 
vain to stay focused. 

"Simple enough," I reply. "Now, why did 
you do it? Tell me. Write it down." 

The students explain: "We used three tac- 
tics to get our message across. By using point 
of view, we put the viewer in the wavering eyes 
of a driver being tested for driving under the 
influence. By using a shifting, shallow focus, 
we illustrated the brink of intoxication. And 
by using a slightly lowered angle, we added 
authority to the officer administering the test. 
All combined, these techniques intimidate the 
viewer, and hopefully will inspire enough fear 
that drivers will consider the consequences of 
their actions." 

Easy to grade? You bet. Their creativity 
does all the work. "CMR 

Free Programming for 
Your PEG Channel 

Think about it. 

of California 

Free-to-air retransmission 
available from Dish Network 
(Ch. 9412) and C-Band satellite 

For more information, visit 



or contact Alison Gang 
(858) 822-5060 


The Stories Project 

Connecting high school students to the community 
through TV production 


Video projects for high school 
TV production classes need to 
engage the students, have sub- 
ject matter appropriate for a school 
setting, and also meet the goals of the 
state curriculum frameworks. (See the 
Massachusetts frameworks at www. 
doe .mass . edu/ frameworks/ current.) 
The Stories Project, based at Sharon 
High School in Sharon, Massachu- 
setts, does all this and more (www. 
sharon.kl 2 
html). Using educational terminology, 
it is an intergenerational, oral history 
project, which demonstrates the inte- 
gration of video technology into the 
curriculum using the documentary 
format. The project also forges posi- 
tive interactions between the students 
and the community. 

This idea, inspired by a feature 
on National Public Radio called 
StoryCorps (, 
was modified for high school televi- 
sion production class. The project 
is organized into three components: 
the interview, the editing, and the 
celebration. While together they 
comprise a whole, each part plays a 
unique role. 

In the first part, the high school 
students interview community mem- 
bers who have a story that they are 
willing to share. The stories can be 
random or planned around a specific 
theme. An open invitation to the town 
can gather citizens willing to come to 
the high school and have their story 
videotaped. And local resources, such 
as the Council on Aging or the town's 

veterans' agent, can also help students 
find individuals willing to participate 
in the project. 

In the original plan, the individu- 
als being interviewed were always 
elderly. This was to satisfy the goal 
of increasing the interaction between 
teenagers and senior citizens. In 
Sharon, in addition to the open calls 
for stories, theme-based projects have 
included: The 1960s, war, and the 
memories of ladies in a town social 
organization. On the designated 
taping day, a student crew has a half- 
hour of studio time to organize their 
set, welcome and mic the guest, and 
conduct the interview. In addition 
to the five W's (who, what, when, 

where, and why), the students also ask 
follow-up questions to insure that all 
components of the guest's story are 
completely clear and fully explained 
for the viewer. 

In the next part of the project, 
the students give the interviews a 
polished and professional look using 
video editing software (Final Cut 
Express). They eliminate all extrane- 
ous elements, use transitions to cover 
cuts, and add titles, music, and images 
that may enhance the project. For 
example, the guests sometimes bring 
items with them, such as telegrams, 
letters, military discharge certificates, 
or photos. These are videotaped 
and included as video inserts in the 



The Stories Project (continued) 

Mary Ann Janosko established the TV/Media 
program at Sharon High School when the school 
opened a TV studio as part of an expansion of its 
technology offerings. Her previous experience 
includes various roles at cable television stations. 

As a high school social studies teacher, 
Janosko taught a wide range of courses at both 
inner-city and suburban schools. 

Hp * la 

finished project. Sometimes photos of 
World War II fighter planes, the Viet- 
nam War Memorial, or other images 
from popular culture are also added to 
enhance the interview. 

When the student teams have 
completed the editing process, the 
segments are gathered onto a portable 
hard drive, and combined into one 
DVD. Students create a menu for the 
DVD, design an appropriate label, 
and help in the duplication process. 
Enough DVDs are made so that each 
one of the participants can receive a 
professional-looking DVD as a gift. 

The final component of the 
project is Premiere Night, an evening 
celebration. The participants, the 
students, their parents, and adminis- 
trators are invited to see the videos 
on a big screen in the school library. 
Refreshments are served, and every- 
one socializes and discusses the final 
result of the project. The videos are 
also later aired on local cable televi- 
sion (Sharon TV, 
for the whole town to view. 

These activities expand the stu- 
dents' experience beyond a classroom 
assignment to the wider community. 
In addition, this opening night adds 
a different dimension to student 
feedback, extending it beyond simply 
earning a grade. When the students 
hear the applause, receive face-to-face 
thanks, and feel the appreciation and 
recognition of their technical skills 
and abilities, it reverberates and be- 
comes positive motivation for future 
class work. 

Both students and participants 
react to the process of recording a 

story on a personal level. The adults 
feel valued and appreciate that a 
teenager wanted to listen to, and 
record, what they had to say. On the 
other side, the students are surprised, 
as well as impressed, by the diversity 
and the drama of the adults' stories. 
Often, since the events described by 
the adults took place at a time when 
they were teenagers or young adults, 
they establish a connection between 
the participants that the teenagers did 
not expect. Some of the dramatic sto- 
ries that have been recorded — which 
also created empathy among the 
students — are fleeing from Germany 
during the Nazi era, surviving a plane 
crash, living without electricity and 
indoor plumbing, swimming in water 
made radioactive by atomic bomb 
blasts, and leaving high school or 
college to fight in wars. 

Some of the stories have a twofold 
impact on the students, creating both 
empathy and a heightened awareness 
of world events that previously may 
have been just distant ideas described 
in a social studies textbook. For ex- 
ample, one student observed that her 
interview subject was almost her age 
when he directed airplanes flying over 
the Himalaya mountains during World 
War II. Another student said of an 
interviewee, "Her boyfriend was killed 
in the Vietnam War when she was just 
two years older than I am now." 

Feedback from the adult par- 
ticipants has been both positive and 
varied. The adults almost always men- 
tion the high quality and professional 
look of the finished video. They also 
make comments regarding the unique 

nature of each story, even when the 
stories are about the same topic. 
Future plans for the project include 
using a survey as a more formalized 
way to obtain and evaluate feedback 
from the participants. Questions will 
solicit information about the quality 
of student behavior during the inter- 
view process, as well as input about 
interviewees' reactions to the final 
video product. 

In a small way, this activity pro- 
vides an opportunity for the students 
to "give back" to the community. 
And, at the same time, it allows the 
community to see a positive outcome 
from the resources that go into the 
community's schools. This endeavor 
is a small step toward reinforcing or 
establishing a pattern of individual 
contribution to the community, which 
is a worthy and valuable goal for all in 
our society. 

The Stories Project concept is 
flexible and can be adapted for use by 
cable access stations as well as high 
school classes. Each individual has a 
story to tell, so in this way, each story 
becomes a unique and interesting 
segment. If an overall topic or theme 
is selected for the project, it can be 
varied for each version of the video, 
so as not to become stale, routine, or 
predictable. Community resources, 
the experience of the town's residents, 
and the talents and interests of the 
students can be tapped to facilitate the 
best outcome of the project. Build- 
ing connections among community 
members is valuable, and it's really not 
that difficult using the Stories Project 
model. "CMR 




A Chorinel For The Arts 

Classic Arts Showcase presents ctips 
of great arts performances. 

From C-Band Satellite Galaxy 15 
No Cost 

Commercial Free 
24 Hours 

Contact: Charlie Mount 
(323) 878-0283 
Fax (323) 878-0329 
casmail@sbcgloba1 . net 

Brought to you by The Lloyd E. Rigler 
- Lawrence E. Deutsch Foundation 

Fairmont High Schools Interactive Media Program: 
Making An Impact Through Access 


Cynthia Bremer provided assistance with this article. 

between school 
media programs 
and local 
offer benefits 
for all involved. 

The benefits of and the necessity for the 
kinds of learning experiences offered 
through the availability of educational 
access are certainly well-represented in the 
ongoing story of Kettering Media Produc- 
tions and WKET radio. Both are operated by 
Fairmont High School, a 2,500-student public 
school serving the city of Kettering, a south- 
ern suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Kettering Media 
& WKET are a formal technical and career 
training curriculum and a student-led, 10-watt 
FM radio station licensed by the FCC. 

Broadcast media started at Fairmont High 
School in 1975 with the launch of WKET, 
a 10-watt non-commercial radio station. 
Conceived by a group of junior high school 
students prior to their arrival at high school, 
the radio broadcasting program developed and 
operated as an extracurricular radio club from 
1975 until 1978. 

In 1979, a young Fairmont English 
teacher, Karl Bremer, became the station 
manager and began offering one class period 
per day for students to work in the WKET 
radio station. With no structured curriculum, 
the program began to organically develop into 
working with the students in an ever-widening 
range of media formats, including broadcast 
journalism, radio production, and basic elec- 
tronics. This originally one-hour class grew 
into an ongoing regular career tech program 
featuring six class periods each day. 

Over the course of the next decade, the 
radio program inspired students to add remote 
sports broadcasting. They also began solicit- 
ing disc jockey work at dances and parties to 
earn money to acquire music and supplies for 
the growing program. 

In 1987, school administrators inquired 
about adding a video production component 

to the media program. With the aid of federal 
funding, the district purchased professional 
video cameras and editing equipment. The 
school's first video production site was located 
in the same building as the Miami Valley 
Communications Council (MVCC), the 
area's multi-jurisdictional public, educational, 
and governmental (PEG) access provider, of 
which the city of Kettering was a participating 
member. Fairmont's media students created 
hundreds of hours of programming on topics 
of interest to the school, the local community, 
and the students themselves, including pro- 
grams on such themes as skateboarding and 
electronic games. Co-location with MVCC 
created an effective synergy and served as a 
catalyst in expanding the school's ability to 
provide valuable learning opportunities about 
the complexities of video production. 

During the early years, funding for the stu- 
dent radio and television program came from 
the school district, grants from MVCC, and 
student fundraisers. In 1995, the program re- 
ceived a $100,000 state grant that was used to 
upgrade the three cameras used in the school 
TV studio, which was now located at the high 
school and designed to do live TV produc- 
tion work around campus. The program was 
emerging as a full, multi-faceted, tech prep 
career program that also provided nearly a 
hundred hours of original programming for 
MVCC's educational access channel every 
year. After MVCC's facility relocation from 
Kettering to Centerville, the Fairmont video 
studio was connected to MVCC (first via coax 
and now through video IP technology) and 
their playback facilities to do live program- 
ming for educational access TV. 

In 1999, the growing success and ever- 
increasing quality of the Kettering Media 


Laura Hutchens and Karl Brenner of Kettering Fairmont Media Productions. 

program and the positive impact it was having 
on both the schools and the students led to the 
receipt of another grant. The Ohio Board of 
Education disbursed $50,000 to the program 
to equip a remote production truck donated 
by WHIO-TV, a local commercial broadcast 
station ( 

In 2000, the school district committed to 
expansion of the media communications and 
tech prep program through the addition of a 
second teacher to help provide for the grow- 
ing quality and capabilities of the program. 
Laura Hutchens, a professional with extensive 
experience at MVCC, CNN, and the Cartoon 
Network, added a new dimension of quality 
and quantity to student training and media 
production work (laura. hutchens ©kettering Other teachers within Ketter- 
ing schools also became major contributors 
to the ongoing success of Fairmont Media 
Productions. English teacher Sharon Rab 
(now retired), has been producing and hosting 

her show Writer to Writer, featuring presenta- 
tions by and discussions with nationally known 
authors for more than a decade. Janet Nixon, 
another English teacher, produces Icons of 
Kettering Education, featuring the inspiring 
stories and experiences of retired educators. 
Nixon and students also produce the popular 
show Paws Club, which features personal sto- 
ries about a wide range of animals highlight- 
ing responsible pet ownership, in conjunction 
with SISCA, a local animal rescue and adop- 
tion agency. 

Some of the other programs include a 
weekly live student-produced show, Good 
Morning Fairmont, which uses a news style 
format blending humor and public and school 
announcements and showcasing student 
groups and achievements. Expanded use of the 
remote production truck, often in coopera- 
tion with MVCC, has resulted in more than 
22 sporting events being covered so far this 
year. Student-run radio broadcasting from the 

In 2000, the 
school district 
to expansion 
of the media 
and tech 
prep program 
through the 
addition of a 
second teacher 
to help provide 
for the growing 
quality and 
capabilities of 
the program. 



Fairmont High Schools Interactive Media Program (continued) 

Karl Bremer is a 
certified teacher of 
English, Reading and 
Social Studies. He has 
supervised Fairmont 
High School's WKET 
radio since 1978 and 
has taught video 
production since 1987 
Bremer (karl.bremer® 
is in his 36th year in 
the Kettering City 

Andy Valeri (andy@ is 
programming super- 
visor at the Miami 
Valley Communications 
Council and a long- 
time veteran of 
community access 
media. He is currently 
involved in a graduate 
program defining 
communication as a 
fundamental human 
right at the University 
of Dayton, and serves 
on CMR's editorial 

studios of WKET FM also continues daily 
under FCC license. 

Fairmont's media production has contin- 
ued to evolve with the advent of new tech- 
nologies in the digital age. Advanced digital 
editing is taught regularly by Hutchens, and 
with the increasing integration with computer 
technology, the limits to what students can 
hope to accomplish within this program con- 
tinue to disappear. Fairmont media students 
also participate in expanded educational train- 
ing opportunities through attending Sinclair 
Community College two days per week. This 
cooperative educational venture developed in 
partnership between Kettering schools and 
this local community college in Dayton, Ohio, 
lets them learn digital design software like 
Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash. Students 
can even earn dual high school and college 
credit within the program. 

As a result of collaboration with both 
the City of Kettering and MVCC, Fairmont 
High School's WKET and media production 
studio will be connected to the world through 
fiber-optic video IP technology. This col- 
laboration is making it possible for the student 
operation to use "dark" fibers to get both the 
radio signal and live TV to the cable hub and 
the radio transmitter, located over a half mile 
away from the school. The benefits are the su- 
perior signal quality that fiber provides and an 
estimated cost savings of more than $20,000 
for the school district. With technical sup- 
port provided by the city, MVCC, and school 
district staff, the actual cost for equipment is 
only around $2,500 for the kind of capability 
that the Kettering school system could never 
have accomplished on its own without these 
cooperative relationships. 

Despite the broad success and impact of 
this program, it is not immune from the kinds 
of demands we see placed upon public educa- 
tion nationwide. Keeping pace with the equip- 
ment costs alone is nearly impossible as heavy 
student usage, technological advances, and 
digital conversion quickly outstrip resources. 

In these tough economic times, lack of fund- 
ing and competing demands within public 
education may threaten the viability of the 
program itself. Karl Bremer, now a 30-year 
veteran of the program, is exploring funding 
options for converting the TV studio to digital 
cameras and digital media storage. The future 
viability of the program demands continued 
investment in technology and balance with 
the broader educational goals and outcomes 
required of public education. 

Regarding this future viability, some 
things are already clearly known and proven. 
Programs such as the Fairmont High School 
Interactive Media program succeed because 
of the dedication of visionary educators who 
continue to create nontraditional learning 
environments for students. The work hours 
of these teachers match the varied production 
schedules of their many projects and students, 
as well as accommodating weekend repair ses- 
sions with the station engineer. Their efforts 
are often coordinated in support of many of 
the other departments in the school district, 
including middle school literacy awareness 
programs, numerous athletic events, cover- 
age of board of education meetings, award 
ceremonies, and more. 

The value and relevance of the work cre- 
ated through Kettering Media Productions 
extends beyond the school walls, providing 
avenues for extensive community service 
opportunities, expanded public awareness 
on issues of community interest and concern, 
collaboration with local government, and part- 
nership with the educational access television 
services as provided through MVCC. Ulti- 
mately, however, the real accomplishments of 
such programs are measured through the life- 
changing experiences of the countless students 
who have benefited from the unique opportu- 
nities provided through putting a camera on 
their shoulder or a microphone in their hand. 
These programs provide for the discovery of 
their creative potential, their hidden talents, 
and even their lifelong career paths. "CMR 


We've Got the BEAT 


For more than a decade, viewers 
in Brunswick, Ohio, rarely skip 
a beat when it comes to their 
school programming. Brunswick is a 
community of 40,000 located between 
Cleveland and Akron. 

In fact, BEAT, Brunswick City 
Schools' Educational Access Channel 
22, is a nationally recognized channel 
featuring shows produced primarily 
by 6th- through 12th-grade students 
in the district's Video Club. 

In 2006, BEAT was selected as the 
top Educational Access Channel (bud- 
get under $200,000) by the Alliance 
for Community Media at its annual 
Hometown Video Awards. 

"Actually, I smiled when I saw the 
budget requirements," says John Wa- 
sylko, BEAT's director of community 
relations, who oversees the channel. 
"Our annual budget is well under a 
tenth of $200,000." 

BEAT produces between 125 and 
150 shows annually. "Our program- 
ming is very eclectic," explains Wa- 
sylko, a 30-year video veteran who has 
worked at Brunswick since 1999. 

"Each night, you'll see a newscast 
anchored by one of our 20 students, 
as well as view board of education 
meetings, local sports and concerts, 
and special school events. But, we also 
produce shows for special audiences, 
like Brunswick Memories, which fea- 
tures the memories, photos, and ar- 
chives of lifelong Brunswick residents; 
SportsBeat, which highlights local and 
national sports figures; cooking shows 
and movie review shows; and a blend 
of nationally syndicated shows, which 
adds to the diversity of our channel." 

"But the heart of the channel 
is our students," explains Wasylko. 
Recently, 7th-grade BEAT reporter 
Rachel Williams conducted an inter- 
view with Ohio Governor Ted Strick- 
land. Strickland was so impressed, he 
later nicknamed her "Katie Couric." 

Meanwhile, in another part of 
town, 7th-grader Nicole Rhoades and 
1 lth-grader Brittany Lemmerman 
were on location, interviewing two 
members of the Cleveland Cavaliers 
NBA basketball team. 

"The community enjoys watching 
these up-and-coming talents," says 
Wasylko. "They have quite a local 
following." They also are respected 
throughout the area, as the club 
recently placed first in SportsTime 

Ohio's prestigious Broadcast/Media 
Production Awards, which highlight 
the best in school programming 
throughout Northeast Ohio. 

Each year, 20 to 25 students are 
selected to participate in a unique 
three-year journalism and media 
production program that supports the 
BEAT channel. 

"Last year, more than 750 students 
requested our application packet," 
Wasylko notes. The extensive ap- 
plication requires three letters of 
recommendation from teachers and a 
face-to-face interview with video club 
co-advisor Sam Boyer and two senior- 
level video club students. 

"A key component in becoming 
a member," Wasylko emphasizes, "is 

BEAT second-year students with John Wasylko giving the "fist bump" in honor of their 
SportsTime Ohio award. 



We've Got the BEAT (continued) 

Above: Seventh-grader Nicole Rhoades operates the camera during a Brunswick School News 
taping. At right: Students like eleventh-grader Brittany Lemmerman use HD equipment, like 
the Grass Valley Indigo switcher, to produce their segments. 

the willingness to write and bring 
fresh ideas to the channel. Language 
Arts is the core of our program." 

In their first year, club members 
focus primarily on developing their 
journalism skills as they each create 
one new story each month to support 
the district's print and online publica- 
tions. In mid-year, students develop 
video stories and work on their on- 
camera interviewing skills. 

In their second year, students con- 
tinue to write monthly stories, but also 
develop their technical skills. "We 
reward our journalists who commit to 
our program with the privilege to work 
with the latest technology," Wasylko 
says. "Our students work on the latest 
HD equipment, purchased with funds 
donated by the community." Over the 
past five years, more than 70 video club 
sponsors have donated nearly $100,000 
in support of the channel and club. 

Students learn basic videography, 
audio, lighting, and editing skills, as 
well as how to be a part of a multi- 
camera, live-to-tape production team. 
"Our goal is to give them as much of 
a taste of what is expected in today's 
media industry — warts and all," said 
Wasylko. "Today's world is requiring 
media journalists to be both in front 
of and behind the camera. We want 
our students' portfolios to reflect 
these requirements, giving them a 
better chance to succeed." 

Most recently, several of the 
students' segments have aired on 
nationally syndicated shows, like the 
Discovery Channel's Education News 
Parents Can Use, and SAMHSA's Road 
to Recovery shows. "Now that our 
shows are also on the Web, national 
producers can see our work, which 
opens us up to a whole new audi- 
ence," Wasylko explains. 

In 2008, the district purchased a 
video server and a PEG Central 
Web hosting and streaming video on 
demand account. This combination 
addressed two needs: the channel's 
ever-expanding cable programming, 
and the desire to make these shows 
available to a web audience. "It has 
surpassed our expectations," Wasylko 
says with pride. "The server allows us 
to air a different show on cable every 
hour. Plus, it allows us to re-package 
older shows on the Web, thus attract- 
ing a new audience." 

Wasylko sees the potential in cable 
access and the Internet supporting 
each other. "A great example is our 
holiday concert series," he explains. 
"In December, traditionally we tape 
between 15 and 20 concerts annu- 
ally in a two-week period. Because of 
scheduling conflicts, we can't air all of 


Sam Boyer is a 50-year veteran of the 
newspaper business who continues to do a 
weekly column following retirement. She has 
been the journalistic advisor to the Brunswick 
Video Club since the 2007-2008 school year, 
working with sixth- through twelfth-graders. 

Eleventh-grader Sean O'Connor proudly displays SportsTime Ohio's "Bump" award. 

the concerts in their entirety on cable 
But this year, we did something dif- 
ferent — we created a five-hour block 
of concert excerpts for cable, with a 
graphic informing viewers that they 
can watch each concert in its entirety 
on our website. We had more than 
1,800 hits over a two-week period, 
which showed me that cable and the 
Web can support each other." «CMR 

For more information on Channel 22/ 
The BEAT, contact John Wasylko, 
director of community relations, at 
330/441-2259, or 
Visit the Brunswick Schools Video Club 
or BEAT at 



Solid- State Workflow Considerations 


The video industry has moved completely to the use 
of solid-state media for video acquisition. There are 
several types of computer cards and video formats, 
so how do you choose the right solid-state form for your 
school or access station? 

You should consider the following factors: 
Media cost and availability 
Media data with good image quality 

■ Speed of workflow, and 

■ Archiving of final edited data. 

Imagine you are an educator with a number of students 
who love every minute of the hours of content they've 
created. They expect all of their footage to be available on 
your servers. But providing this level of access for them will 
tie up your servers and your non-linear editing systems if 
the solid-state form you select isn't the right one for you. 

Your students will be more productive if they can edit 
right from their computer cards and if they each have their 
own cards. But you can't expect the student to be able to 
afford a couple of computer cards, which can range from 
$200 to $1,500 per card. So you need media that uses com- 
monly available cards that cost less than $25, and preferably 
less than $15 each. 

Of course, there are some less expensive cards that 
involve lengthy transfer times for your editing systems to 
convert the data. In this case, your editing systems are then 
tied up doing data transfers, rather than editing. You want 
to look for a solid-state form that provides immediate edit- 
ing with no transfer time at all. 

Different media forms use different methods of encod- 
ing the video data and therefore they give different levels 
of video quality. You want to look for a media form that 
gives a moderate data rate so you have good image quality 
without the very high costs of having media that can do 
very high data rates. 

You also want to be able to plug the media card into 
your editor and have the clips play on the timeline from 
the card. There should be no need to do a lengthy "log 
and capture" or "log and transfer" operation in order to get 
the data to your hard drives. This method offers the fastest 
workflow and the content stays on the student's cards, not 
on your servers. 


Archiving is one more consideration for you to inves- 
tigate. Archiving to hard drives is very expensive and so is 
archiving to computer cards. You need to be able to store 
your video quickly and to inexpensive cards that are avail- 
able everywhere. 

So you should be looking for a solid-state media form 
that gives you: 

■ Media cards that are commonly available and 

■ Moderate data rate with high image quality 

■ Workflow without any transfer time, and 

■ Media cards cheap enough to archive on. 

It's not a matter of choosing good, fast, or cheap: You 
want all three. "CMR 

Ken Freed, district manager for JVC Professional Company, 
has taught at corporations and colleges. He brings a broad 
knowledge of video products and their operation to help 
people choose the right products to accomplish their goals. 
Freed's 20-year background in customer support and 15-year 
experience in video sales and production allow him to provide 
informed answers to a range of audiences. 

Educational Access — Give us a Button 
on the Home Page 


The first three years that my son was in 
elementary school, I brought my video 
camera to document his annual holiday 
program. This year I left the HI-8 camcorder 
at home, though. I knew the program would 
be captured by professional videographers, 
with better equipment and better technique. 

Within days of the event, the elementary 
school holiday programs began to appear on the 
local school channel. My fourth-grader and I 
went right to the school website to find out the 
next time the program would be rebroadcast. 

On the school's home page, in the main 
menu, was a link to the district cable channel. 
Right up there with other items such as "Bond 
Updates," "Bus Schedules," and "Curriculum," 
was a direct link to the district educational 
access cable channel website. I was thrilled to 
see that the local cable channel ranked high on 
the district's list of priorities. Clearly they have 
learned the power of video and cable television. 

We quickly found what we were looking 
for using the online program guide. Next we 
looked for a streaming video button. No such 
luck. Though the district has an amazing video 
program, it currently has no capabilities for 
streaming video-on-demand. So what will it 
take to get them streaming? 

Many television operations have hosted 
their own on-demand service, building a server 
from the ground up and offering streaming 
originating from their own facility. With the 
right combination of hardware, software, and 
know-how, it can be done. 

Now streaming video-on-demand services 
designed for the needs of PEG access are mak- 
ing things even easier for local cable opera- 
tions. These end-to-end services handle it all, 
including channel automation, Internet media 
hosting, and streaming video-on-demand. 

Local cable operations can seamlessly inte- 
grate streaming into their existing workflows 

by coupling a PEG streaming service with an 
affordable video server that offers dual, simul- 
taneous video encoding for broadcast and the 
Internet. Just as you would normally record 
any program to your video server for broad- 
cast, a secondary file identical in content, yet 
optimized for the Internet, would be created 
in the background. The server then automati- 
cally transfers the optimized media file to your 
custom branded online streaming portal. 

It really has become that easy to stream 
video online and these new systems can get 
you started almost immediately, with very 
little change to your current digital workflow. 
No additional expensive encoding hardware is 
required. No worries arise about transcoding, 
licensing of digital media, bandwidth, or the 
added strain on your local network while po- 
tentially hundreds of online viewers log on at 
peak times. The right streaming solution will 
complement your local channel operations, not 
complicate them. 

Streaming is one of the best things to ever 
happen to educational access, reaching beyond 
the cable system to a worldwide audience. 
Streaming supplements the cable channel, 
doing things that cable cannot do. A stream- 
ing website provides high-quality video via the 
convenience of the Internet and 24/7 availabil- 
ity. Overflow programming from the holiday 
season can appear in its entirety online along 
with hundreds of hours of current and archived 
programming, board of education meetings, 
fine arts performances, and sporting events. 

The quality of streaming video is rapidly 
improving with a faster Internet and better 
compression technology, allowing onscreen 
resolution approaching that of broadcast tele- 
vision. Specially equipment and online services 
have brought broadcasting and streaming 
closer than ever, providing system solutions 
that simplify workflows. «CMR 

Jeff Possanza is the 
director of marketing 
INC. During his 
18-year career at 
has spent most of his 
time providing and 
supporting specialty 
television automation 
and video server 
systems for PEG access 
and other local cable 
operations. Possanza 
got his start in PEG 
access in the early 
1980s as a volunteer 
camera operator at 
the Public Access 
Center in East Lansing, 
Michigan. At the same 
time, Jeff worked for 
a professional video 
dealer as a part-time 
video technician 
servicing and installing 
a wide range of video/ 
audio equipment. 



Nonlinear Workflow in Community 
Media Production 


Editing video on 
the computer 
provides the 
same sense of 
mastery over 
the moving 
image that using 
word processing 
software on 
a computer 
does for the 
written word 
versus using a 

Nonlinear editing is an inescapable 
reality of digital video production. 
Over the past fifteen years, these 
tools have dropped in price and increased in 
sophistication — a technology that once cost 
as much as a new car can now be operated 
by a middle-school student with virtually no 
training. Timelines, clip windows, and transi- 
tions are native to our younger constituents, 
while some older members of our community 
struggle with these concepts. Editing video on 
the computer provides the same sense of mas- 
tery over the moving image that using word 
processing software on a computer does for 
the written word versus using a typewriter. 
My ambivalence about nonlinear editing stems 
not from the quality of the final product, but 
the time it takes to create it — time that is 
taken away from other activities in my small 
community media center. 

Software-based editing offers almost limit- 
less control over a digital media creation. In 
my experience, around 2005 we passed a point 
at which computer processing was powerful 
enough and hard drive storage so abundant 
and affordable that any project conceived at 
a community media center could be a reality. 
While the media of digital tapes, firewire, and 
hard drives themselves are very fragile and 
delicate compared with their analog predeces- 
sors, as a producer and consumer I am at the 
mercy of the market. The market is migrating 
toward hard disks and solid state recordings, 
so nonlinear editing is definitely here to stay. 

The crucial challenge with nonlinear 
editing rests in how and when people use 
these tools. What is their net effect upon the 
mission of the organization? I would argue 
that the results are more mixed the closer one 
looks, but let's start with the positive aspects of 
the process. 

The glory of nonlinear editing comes from 
a well managed project. Clips are properly 
named and stored in folders. A wide range of 
effects, titles, and audio tweaking options are 
all just a click away. Working on a project that 
is well prepared makes nonlinear editing a true 
joy, very creative and extremely efficient. And 
organizing a project like this is a great exercise 
for a new editor, an intern, or even an older, 
somewhat computer savvy producer who is 
not ready to jump into his or her own project. 

At my small center, when we have more 
than three people working on the same 
computer over an extended period of time, it 
is essential that we all understand file man- 
agement. Otherwise, files get lost, mixed up, 
deleted, or saved in incorrect places. The 
learning curve for nonlinear editing is built on 
a foundation of computer literacy and there is 
no way around that. This excludes producers 
with more experience who are not computer- 
literate, however. 

The best part about nonlinear editing also 
opens the door for what I think is the most 
unsavory aspect of nonlinear editing. Having 
lots of options and this seemingly incred- 
ible amount of power at your fingertips often 
de-emphasizes the production values of the 
project being edited. Once my students grasp 
the power of nonlinear editing, it sometimes 
becomes a crutch for them. Seduced by the 
limitless possibilities, nonlinear editing be- 
comes a chore offering too many choices — 
a mental marathon. Instead of insisting on 
quality production from the project's outset, 
they assume that basic production issues like 
poor lighting and noisy, distorted sounds will 
somehow get fixed during the editing process. 

I also find that projects take longer to 
finish with nonlinear editing than they do in 
a tape-to-tape environment. This dampens 


Jason Daniels has been working with nonlinear 
editing for more than 11 years as a producer and 
educator. He is currently the executive director of 
Medfield.TV in Medfield, Massachusetts, and serves 
on the Northeast Regional Board of the Alliance for 
Community Media. Daniels founded the 
100 Second Film Festival. 

the immediacy, timeliness, and impact of 
community media by focusing our work 
more on postproduction. Although nonlinear 
editing is now the default option for video 
postproduction, I urge producers to look 
toward opportunities to streamline this part of 
the process and even to identify opportunities 
to bypass it altogether, especially when time- 
liness of your material is a factor. Sometimes 
we use our master control room as a large 
tape-to-tape editing system if all we need are 
titles or graphics on a longer production. 

We work constantly with junior producers 
to help us manage files, and create nonlinear 
projects that are well organized. We subscribe 
to for terrific tutorials on edit- 
ing and computer fundamentals. We also 
do most of our exporting and rendering at 
night, to avoid tying up the machines during 
busy hours. 

In short, we try to maintain nonlinear 
editing as the fun and creative opportunity it 
is designed to be, rather than becoming less 
careful about our production values. "CMR 

or Commuiiications Democracy 

For more than 15 years, the Alliancefor Communications Democracy has been fighting to preserve and 
strengthen access, Though the odds against us hove been high, and the mega-media f corporate foes well- 
heeled and powerful, time and again weve won in the courts. We cant continue this critical work without 
your support With the ramifications of the 1996 Telecommunications Act stilt manifesting themselves, and 
new legislation on the horizon, we must be vigilant if we are to prevail and preserve democratic communi- 
cations. If not us. who? If not now, when? Please join the Alliance for Communications Democracy today! 

Become an Alliance Subscriber for $350/year and receive detailed reports on current 
court cases threatening access, pertinent historical case citations, and other Alliance for 
Communications Democracy activities. 

> Voting membership open to nonprofit access operations for an annual contribution of $3,000. 

> Associate, Supporter and Subscriber memberships available to organizations and individuals at 
the following levels: 

> Alliance Associate $2500 - copies of all briefs and reports. 

> Alliance Supporter S500 - copies of ail reports and enclosures. 

Alliance Subscriber $350 - copies of all reports. 

Direct membership inquiries to ACD Treasurer Sam Behrend, Access Tucson, 124 E. Broadway Blvd., 
Tucson, AZ 85701, telephone 520.624.9 833|xl03| r or email at 




Student-Run TV Conference Creates Opportunities 

Fostering Real World Connections and Teaching 21st-century Skills 


A conference 
by students for 
students yields 
big results. 

I magine sitting in an auditorium filled with 
I hundreds of high school students who are 
I passionate about TV production. The lights 
dim, and the crowd cheers as if they are at a 
pep rally as their high schools' names appear 
in graphics on the big screen. "Welcome to 
Lights! Camera! Action! New England's High 
School Media Production Conference!" the 
student at the podium says, "Today you will 
have the chance to network with profession- 
als in the industry, and students who are just 
like you. They love to shoot, edit, and broad- 
cast their productions." 

Lights! Camera! Action! The New 
England Media Production Conference is a 
free conference, run entirely by the student 
staff at Millis High School (www.millisps. 
org) in Millis, Massachusetts (population 
8,500). It is just like any professional confer- 
ence we would attend as adults, except that it 
is run by students for students. Six years ago, 
my television production class asked what 
other educational access studios produced for 
programming. The answer came in the form 
of a student-run TV production conference, 
which has influenced more than one thousand 
students across New England. Although the 
day itself is exciting, the planning process has 
changed my curriculum in dramatic ways. In 
addition, the real-world connections have led 
to many incredible outside opportunities for 
my students and me. 

Each year's conference has a theme. Past 
themes have ranged from presidential politics 
and the media to TV production in the digital 
world. Students arrive at 8:30 a.m. by bus, 
car, and even limo, excited to see their film at 
the short opening film festival. Each school 
is challenged to produce a two-minute video 
that must include some props and lines of 

dialogue, as well as stay within a genre. This 
year, the genre is comedy, and the conference 
will be held on April 9. The schools are given 
about one month's notice to create their films. 

The Millis High School students dictate 
the conference's agenda and request that the 
presenters treat the student audience as if they 
were industry professionals. As they enter 
the conference, students are invited to sign 
up for two workshops. Past workshop top- 
ics have ranged from journalistic ethics in a 
reality show society (speakers were contestants 
on Survivor and Trading Spaces) to covering 
the Red Sox during the World Series. Other 
workshops have focused on set design, editing, 
flash animation, the life of an independent 
producer, a career in voice-over, and more. 
All of the Boston affiliate stations support the 
event. Apple Computer joins us each year to 
showcase the latest technology tips on Final 
Cut Pro, podcasting, and more. 

"It is very exciting to meet people who are 
doing our dream jobs!" Millis student Stacey 
Kalivas explains. 

Each year, we ask one or two high schools 
to do a presentation about their program. 
As the conference has grown, we still try to 
remain true to the original intent of the day, 
connecting with students who love production 
and finding out what they do in their schools. 
"It is wonderful to see the pride the students 
from the presenting schools feel in the work 
they do at their schools," says Jon Muldoon, 
teaching assistant at Millis High School. 
"These students are doing professional quality 
work, and it's nice to see them recognized by 
their peers." 

Media literacy topics are always a signifi- 
cant and critical part of the workshops. To- 
day's teenager creates video podcasts, watches 


shows on demand, comes to school eager to 
discuss favorite YouTube videos, and regularly 
uses digital technologies with more confidence 
than adults. My students and I knew it would 
be an opportune time to create an unscripted 
discussion between students and television and 
film industry insiders, as these teens consume 
a steady diet of natural disaster, wartime 
coverage, and reality shows — all brought into 
their lives through the media. 

Speakers invited to run these groups have 
come to the conference from Harvard Univer- 
sity, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's 
office, and the National Academy of TV Arts 
and Sciences. One recent speaker, David Burt 
(the station manager for the mayor's office 
in Boston), remarked, "I was amazed at the 
insightful comments and questions directed 
toward the panelists at the Lights! Camera! 
Action! conference. Educational opportunities 
provided by conferences such as this can only 
serve to inspire our next generation of televi- 
sion professionals." 

In between the workshops, the students 
come together for a focused panel discus- 
sion on the conference theme. In 2006, this 
featured a live video chat with Hollywood 
director Chris Koch, whose credits include 
the major films Snow Day and A Guy Thing, 
as well as many episodes of the popular TV 
show Scrubs. Another year's speakers included 
producers, editors, and reporters who work in 
the sports industry. 

Student Stacey Kalivas explains what she 
learns from the day: "We invite people from 
all parts of the industry, from a local news an- 
chor and the producer of an upcoming feature 
film to animators and editors. This past year, 
there was a roundtable discussion involving 
three people who worked on presidential 

Skills for the 21st Century 

As The Partnership for 21st Century Skills states on their website 
(, "Educators today are facing the critical 
challenge to prepare our students to meet the demands of a global 
community and tomorrow's workforce." 

Hosting and organizing a conference of this magnitude utilizes all of the 
21st-century skills necessary for students to be successful in this digital 
society and allows them to interact and network as peers with industry 
professionals and other passionate students. According to the partner- 
ship, "Every child in America needs 21st-century knowledge and skills 
to succeed as effective citizens, workers, and leaders in this new and 
different century." With these skills coupled with experiences in the field, 
dreams can become reality. 

campaigns. We also looked at how the me- 
dia is affecting the election like none other 
in history. All participants are able to col- 
laborate and share ideas and methods. It is a 
great learning experience for students who are 
interested in studying communications." 

Not surprising given the demographics 
of this group, lunch is always pizza. Students 
are encouraged to mix it up and sit with peers 
from other schools. They are provided with 
a variety of guide questions to help facilitate 
discussions. We hold the much-anticipated 
electronics raffle at this time. This year, the 
president of the New England Chapter of the 
National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences 
(NATAS) will announce the winners of the 
National Student TV Awards. Many of the 
schools attending the conference have entered 
this prestigious competition. 

Planning for the next conference begins 
the day after the conference is held. The 
student staff sits down together and reviews 



Student-Run TV Conference Creates Opportunities (continued) 

At registration students 
receive a swag bag filled 
with Lights! Camera! 
Action! pens, T-shirts and 
information about the 
day. The conference is 
free to all who attend. 

the evaluations. They also discuss what went 
well and what they would like to change for 
the following year. The feedback is important 
to them. The student organizers have a deep 
sense of ownership and pride in this event. 
Many of the students return to attend the 
event even after they graduate. One of our 
graduates has a degree in graphics and works 
with our students each year to design the logo 
and T-shirt. 

A surprising element that has developed 
from the conference is the vast array of con- 
nections we now have to the New England 
TV industry. The response from the profes- 
sionals in the community has been tremen- 
dous. Not only are they delighted to speak 
with students, but also some have hired stu- 
dents from the conference as college interns. 

Because of my work with Lights! Camera! 
Action! I was asked to be part of the Board 
of Governors for the New England Chapter 
of the National Academy of TV Arts and 
Sciences. Now, the chapter is one of the two 
major sponsors of the conference and academy 
members play a significant role as presenters 
in the conference. When NATAS lost their 
funding for the National Student TV Awards, 
we were able to continue to hold the competi- 
tion, largely due to the student staff and our 
network of teachers in New England. 

An additional benefit provided by the 
conference is the connections that have been 

made among the educators. For years, I was 
the isolated TV teacher in my school, and 
now I have a network of colleagues who run 
educational access studios in their schools. 
We frequently share ideas, commiserate when 
frustrated, and have a friendly rivalry in com- 
petitions. This collegiality is invaluable. 

Millis High School TV students and I 
have been speakers at the Video Educators of 
New England Conference, Apple Computer 
seminar, and at the 2008 Building Learning 
Communities conference. Because of confer- 
ence connections, we have been hired to pro- 
duce a variety of professional videos for local 
organizations and corporations. These outside 
opportunities have completely increased the 
rigor in my classroom. When students are 
working on projects that include real-world 
relevance, they perform at a higher standard. 

Students entering our studios are not tra- 
ditional learners. Today's digital students need 
to be engaged using new teaching strategies to 
excite them and inspire them to be passionate 
lifelong learners. "CMR 

Danielle Mannion is a graduate of 
Syracuse University's Newhouse School of 
Communications. Currently the television 
production teacher at Millis Middle/High School, 
she has twenty years of teaching experience 
in the Massachusetts public schools. Mannion's 
students have won many awards, including 
the National Student Television Award for 
Excellence. She also serves on the Board of 
Governors for the New England Chapter of the 
National Academy of TV Arts and Sciences. 


You Are Not Alone 


hat is the most outra- 
geous request you've had 
from your colleagues? Do 

they suggest projects implying that 
they're helping you find things for 
your journalism students to do? You 
are not alone. The comments below 
came from teachers nationwide, who 
contributed them to the Radio and 
Television News Directors Founda- 
tion (RTNDF) High School Broad- 
cast Journalism online forums: 

"This could be a great project 
for your students." 
"Hello, my 9-year old daughter 
is involved with an outside bal- 
let group and she has a recital 
coming up. I was thinking this 
would make for a great project 
for your kids to film this event! 
You know, real-world experi- 

■ "I know I've never taken one 
of your classes, but our Span- 
ish teacher said we could do a 
video to replace an assignment, 
and she said we should come to 
you and you could show us how 
to use a camera and edit. Oh, 
by the way, we need to use one 
of your cameras and, also, the 
project is due tomorrow..." 

"I have a student teacher who 
needs a video of herself teach- 
ing in class for her portfolio. 
Can you record that on your 

■ "Can you make a promo for 
our upcoming dance to run 
on the news on Monday? 
We only need it to be about a 
minute or so." 

■ "Could I get this 60-minute- 
long presentation on tape put 
on a DVD in 15 minutes?" 
"Or could you make us a foot- 
ball season highlight DVD in 
two days for the banquet?" 
"Can you have one of your 
kids video the banquet? Dinner 
tickets are $25." 

■ "I know I'm not in your class 
anymore, but can I still use 
your equipment?" 

If you teach television produc- 
tion or broadcast journalism, you 
very likely are the only person in 
your building teaching this subject. 
Depending on the size of your school 
district, there may be no other person 
in the entire district who understands 
the things you have to deal with. You 
only have the Spanish teacher down 
the hall to talk to about how your 
kids keep losing the XLR to mini 
plug adapters. Does he just give you a 
blank stare when you talk? 

You are also probably the only 
person in the building who has a 
clue about what it takes to create a 
television program. Do you feel like 
screaming because no one in your 
school understands the issues with 
your facility, equipment, or classes? 

Even though it sometimes seems 
you're on an island by yourself, 
remember this: You are not alone. 
Hundreds of teachers doing what you 
do are part of a sharing and support 
network and get together daily using 
the Internet. There is the solution to 
your "lost on a desert island" situa- 
tion. The Internet lets you be in con- 
tact with hundreds of teachers who 

teach exactly what you teach. These 
teachers have the same problems you 
have and many of them have found 
solutions to those problems and are 
willing to share those solutions with 
you. All you have to do is ask. 

The list below details the best 
resources that are at your disposal. 
You can pose a question and often will 
have 10 answers within 15 minutes 
delivered right to your inbox. 

~£ ^ ■ 


High School Broadcast 
Journalism Organization 

The High School Broadcast Journal- 
ism organization (HSBJ) is sponsored 
by the Radio and Television News 
Directors Foundation. This website 
offers free membership in the orga- 
nization, access to an e-mail list with 
hundreds of television production and 
broadcast journalism teachers, online 
forums, contests, grants, and much 
more. The forums offer solutions to 
many problems in a searchable data- 
base that is growing every day. HSBJ 
also has a teacher e-mail list that you 
can join to communicate immedi- 
ately with fellow teachers all over 
the country. 

You Are Not Alone (continued) 

Student Television Network 

The Student Television Network 
(STN) has an e-mail list with hun- 
dreds of television production and 
broadcast journalism teachers. Put 
yourself in touch with all of these 
kindred spirits instantly. They offer 
help and advice on the gamut of 
issues with equipment, classes, and 
many other topics. 

STN also sponsors a national 
convention yearly with workshops 
for students and teachers in the areas 
of broadcast journalism and video 
production as well as many contests. 
There is a small fee to join the orga- 
nization, but you'll be added to their 
e-mail list immediately when you join. 
Membership also allows your school 
to attend the STN convention, to 
participate in contests, and to receive 
their newsletters. 

Kent State University 

Kent State University is offering an 
online master's degree for journalism 
educators. My colleague Janet Kerby 
developed a 3 -credit graduate-level 
course, Teaching Broadcast Journal- 
ism, for broadcast journalism teachers 
and prospective teachers as part of 
that program. For more information 
about the degree or Kerby's course, 
contact Candace Perkins Bowen at 

id*™! Y uk'i i \ n x 


School Video News 

School Video News is a free monthly 
e-magazine with lots of articles of 
interest to students and to teachers 
who operate a K-12 school news 
operation. It also offers many useful 
links to related sites. 


SchoolTube is an outlet for showing 
student work on the Internet. The 
site is somewhat similar to YouTube. 
However, material can be uploaded 
only after being approved by a 
teacher. Teachers who want their stu- 
dents' work to be available for viewing 
by anyone on the Internet receive a 
password from SchoolTube, which is 
used to filter material and keep inap- 
propriate from being posted. There- 
fore, SchoolTube is a much safer place 
then YouTube for students to view the 
work of other students from all over 
the world. 

'tCs PLC 



Student Press Law Center 

If you ever have a legal question or a 
"sticky situation" and you need some 
legal advice on broadcast journalism 
issues or other issues related to televi- 
sion, the Student Press Law Center is 
a great place to find answers quickly 
and for no cost. They field questions 
via e-mail and telephone. An attorney 
is available to give advice to teachers 
and students. 


Alliance for Community Media 
Spring 2009 Regional 

Journalism Education 


The Journalism Education Associa- 
tion (JEA) is an organization for print 
and electronic media. They sponsor a 
national convention twice a year with 
workshops and competitions for all 
student media. 

Video Educator Training 

Offers content descriptions and clips 
of presentations offered by Janet 
Kerby and me to video production 
and broadcast journalism teachers 
nationwide. We can provide indi- 
vidualized training for the teachers in 
your school, district, system, or state, 
or help you design curricula or build 
production facilities. "CMR 

Phillip L Harris taught television 
production for 34 years. As a consultant, 
he helps to design curricula and build 
production facilities throughout the 
country. He also authored a high school 
textbook, Television Production 
asp?id=253) # in 2006. Phil is passionate 
about sharing his knowledge with fellow 
TV broadcasting instructors and 
refers people to his website, 
He can be reached at 703-975-7038. 

Mid-Atlantic Region/ 
Jersey Access 

Strength Through Sharing 

Friday Luncheon Speaker: 
Gloria Tristani 

Saturday Keynote: 
Scott Weber, former Senior Counsel 
to the Secretary of the Department of 
Homeland Security 

Trade Show May 14 only, 
9 a.m.-4 p.m. 

May 14-15 
Crown Plaza Hotel 
Edison, NJ 

More info @ 

Alliance for Community Media 
Spring 2009 Regional 

Northeast Region 

Community Media in a 
Broadband World 

Two-day trade show 

Keynote Speaker: Helen Soule, 
ACM Executive Director 

May 21-22 
Champlain College 
Burlington, VT 

More info @ 



Video Distribution 101 


Clarify who your 
audience is and 
find a way to 
reach them. 

I n today's multiplatform media landscape, 
I the old strategy of "film it and they will 
I watch it" doesn't exactly cut it. Moving 
from a broadcast model to a network model 
in media has put more power and potential in 
the hands of the masses, but it also means that 
we, the people, have to work a little harder to 
ensure that the media we make is actually seen 
and, more importantly, makes an impact. 

This article will discuss various means of 
media distribution. Whether you're a student 
cutting your first video, a veteran filmmaker, 
or a community group releasing a campaign 
PSA, the following are symbiotic spheres 
of distribution that you should consider to 
guarantee the widest and most meaningful 
audience possible for your piece. All of these 
areas relate to and feed into each other, but 
depending on your content, you may want to 
emphasize one area over another. 

It's important to keep a few objectives in 
mind, from the very beginning stages of your 

What audiences do you want to reach? 
What venues/media are best to reach 
them? What impact do I hope to have 
with these audiences? 
How can you bring your content to 
new different audiences via a variety 
of media? 
■ How can you utilize both low-tech 
and high-tech solutions to deliver 
your content to these audiences? 

Community Access Television 

Maybe because I cut my teeth in video at a 
community access television station, I always 
begin with this important but underutilized 
outlet for grassroots distribution. There are 
literally thousands of public access, educa- 

tional, and governmental (PEG) TV stations 
across the country and people watch them — 
a lot. There's no better way to reach deep into 
a community then sharing your content with 
PEG TV. It's also a great way to get feedback 
on your program. And best of all, most PEG 
TV stations don't have exclusivity contracts, 
meaning you can air your work on their sta- 
tions, while retaining control over the rights 
of your piece. Particularly if your content con- 
cerns a social issue that you want to galvanize 
people around, community access television 
is a wonderful outlet, because it's one of the 
most engaging media within the entire broad- 
cast industry. 


Distributing your content online means more 
than just slapping it up on YouTube and hop- 
ing for the best. Nowadays it's important to 
post your content on several different sites 
to achieve different goals and viral audience 
building. So, go ahead and put your content 
on YouTube, but don't stop there. Check out if you want to ensure quality encoding 
of your content. 

Likewise, think of your audience online. . . 
and find where they go online, then post your 
video there. Most video hosting services like and will allow you to em- 
bed your video in Facebook, Myspace, blogs, 
and so forth so you can find your audience 
and put your content in front of them. If 
your content is human rights related, check 
out The Hub, sponsored by Witness, which 
features human rights videos from around the 
world ( 

Again, generating a meaningful audience 
online isn't so much about how many eyeballs 
you can capture, but which ones. You don't 


Jennifer Wager currently teaches communications at Essex County 
College in Newark, New Jersey. She also serves on the board of the 
National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, with whom she has facilitated 
a community video oral history project. Since 1995 # Wager has created 
several online experimental education projects, including the Smithsonian- 
award winning W.E.B. Du Bois Virtual University. Wager holds a 
M.A. in African Studies from Ohio State University and a M.A. in 
Communication and Technology from Georgetown University. 

Resources You Can Use 

necessarily care about the eyeballs that are 
dredging YouTube for hot girls, cute puppies, 
or kids falling off skateboards. You want your 
content to reach people who will be affected 
by it and then do something — call their con- 
gressperson, write an e-mail to an organiza- 
tion, educate themselves about your topic, or 
just buy your film. 

Film Festivals 

For every kind of film, there's a festival for 
it — you just have to find the festivals that are 
perfect for your film. This can be an expensive 
process, so to keep costs down, be realistic 
about what festivals your film will attract and 
what you hope to get out of the festival circuit. 
Festivals are great for networking and gener- 
ating buzz about your film, but don't get too 
hung up on them. Look for free and low-cost 
festivals first at a service like Withoutabox. 
com, where you can fill out one application 
and simultaneously apply to many festivals so 
it's not an overwhelming process. 


All of these areas often open up possibilities 
for international distribution as well, so keep 
that in mind. Many social issues transcend 
national borders, and you may find that your 
piece resonates around the globe as well as at 
home. Actively look for international outlets 
at film festivals, online hosting providers, 
and community access TV gatherings (don't 
forget that South Africa, South Korea, Ghana, 
and many Latin American countries all have 
thriving community TV movements). To send 
your piece for showing, you can facilitate full 
quality video file sharing through 
and other large file-sharing providers. 

Community Access Television 

ACM — 

Includes a listing of PEG stations nationwide: 

Film Festivals 

One-stop applications to thousands of film festivals 
worldwide at 


You know YouTube, but check out these other online sources: — The best source for HD encoded content 
online. — Much better quality encoding than Youtube 
and really nice interface. — Great source for human rights and 
social justice related content. — Distribution of audio, video and text, 
(think multimedia Twitter). 

DVD Sales 


Video Distribution 101 (continued) 

The Best for the Least: Transcoding Your Videos for Optimized Online Viewing 

Export! Quicktiime Movie 

384K broadband connections, you need to limit the 

PC: Export as DV/AVI 

data rate to around 350-360 kilobits per second to 
leave room for network traffic 

Compression — H.264 

Size— 640 x 480 or SD 

Frame Rate — 1 5 (smaller size) or 30 (on some 

Sound — AAC I mono 

computers 30 doesn't look that good) 

Target rate and bit rate — 32-68khz 
Music oriented— 96/11 2/1 28 

Key Frame — every 24 frames 

Thanks to Ivettza Sanchez of Manhattan 

Bit Rate — the higher the data rate the better the 

Neighborhood Network for these suggested 

quality, but bigger the file size. For streaming to 


DVDs Made EZ 

While many of us are focused on online 
distribution, don't forget that DVDs and 
VCDs (video compact discs) are how most 
folks watch independent film. DVDs are great 
for distributing your film to policymakers, 
funders, and other people you want to reach 
with your message. DVDs can also be a great 
fundraising tool — as long as you're smart 
about duplication and marketing. Check out 
the sidebar (see p. 3 1) for some good sources 
for that. 

And don't worry, you don't have to be a 
technological genius to make a DVD. Simple 
software programs, like iDVD, can give you 
amazing results. 

Reaching "The Community" 

DVDs are great for organizing mass com- 
munity and house screenings of your film too. 
If you empower people across the country 
(and the world) to get a copy of your film 

and organize a screening, you've made great 
strides toward reaching new audiences that 
you could never have envisioned at the begin- 
ning of your project. 

Community screenings allow you to 
build relationships with organizations (often 
through co-sponsorship) which can keep your 
film alive for years to come. They also can 
provide more visibility and press coverage for 
your project. 

Finally, don't forget that distribution is 
all about community — that is, reaching those 
communities that are your likely audience and 
hopefully, through your film, your little grain 
of sand, making your community that much 
better. "CMR 

Check out Wager's first feature documentary, 
Venezuela Rising, which was broadcast 
on Venezuelan television and has been 
screened at film festivals around the world, 


Alliance for Community Media 

Building Community through Media 

ll I ft nee fir 
Community Media 


tit Keep Us Connected 

Stand Up and Be Counted! 

At the Federal, State and Local Levels 
Community Voices Are Being Silenced 

The ACM has been working to protect your voice and the future of community media! 

• Testified at January 2008 Hearing House Telecommunication Subcommittee on 
video providers' discriminatory treatment of PEG channels. 

• Initiated and testified at September 2008 House Appropriations Committee on 
Financial Services and General Government Hearing on damages to PEG chan- 
nels caused by the current regulatory and business environment. 

• Filed a Petition for Declaratory Ruling with the Federal Communications Commis- 
sion (FCC) charging that telecom giant AT&T discriminates against local public 
channels with its U-verse cable TV system, 

• Filed an Appeal to the Supreme Court of 6 th Circuit Decision on Video Franchis- 

• Working with federal and state legislators to introduce changes in federal state 
laws that will protect PEG channels and funding. 

• Collaborating with other organizations such as Media and Democracy Coalition to 
protect Community Media Centers and PEG access. 

Visit our website t o : 

Join the ACM 

Make a Donation to the Keep Us Connected Campaign ! 



Alliance for Community Media 
International Conference & Exhibition 

lllitiet For 
Community Media 

Alliance for